Today I am thankful for… a blank slate. I love a brand new journal. A new stack of post-it notes. A new legal pad at work. An empty word doc on my computer. I love the blank slate. There are no existing patterns I have to follow. No scribbles or scratches or mistakes yet. I can choose what I want this piece of paper, this space, to be about.
Sometimes it would be nice if relationships could be that way.
If there was no history, no back story, no hurts to forgive and forget. No misperceptions to get out of your head. No experiences that shape your view of someone before you even know them at all.
But the reality is that I am biased. And so are you. We’re not the objective observers and responders we think we are. We’re not masters at recognizing fact from opinion. We’re not always interested in learning or caring about the other side to a story. We are irrational emotional human beings whose history and experiences shape the way we see people and the world. We take a few experiences we had and we generalize. This results in us rarely being able to see ourselves accurately… or anyone else accurately for that matter.
Consider all of the stereotypes that someone might conjure about you because of a few facts…
Blonde Millennial Christian
If you know me personally, would you consider me a ditzy lazy entitled closed minded homophobe? I’m seen those words used to describe some of those“facts” about me. So if I can look at those terms, and the way that someone interprets them, and determine they are not accurate for me… why on earth should I believe that those things are accurate about you? Or that any of the assumptions made about you because of your race, job, gender, relationship status, age, religion, geography, demography, politics, hobbies….are accurate? I don’t even know you. And that’s my point.
We all have a lot of differences. But the more you get to know someone the less you see the differences and the more you see the person. And the more you care for them and about them as a person. Not as a difference. Not as a member of a group that is different.
The truth is that we all have a lot in common. We are all human beings and that should matter more than it does.
I believe we all were created by God. All of us. Me and you and whoever you consider to be “them”. Because God created you that means I should learn about you, care about you, and love you. Even if the world tells me you’re my enemy. Even if that sounds ridiculous.
Because God created you that means I should not hurt you. Physically, emotionally, verbally. I shouldn’t exclude you, or wish you harm. I shouldn’t curse at you or gossip about you. Even if you hurt me or those I know, I should not take revenge. Even if that sounds ridiculous.
- As my thoughts tumble out and I worry
- As another news story appears
- As another life is lost
- As I watch fear turn to anger and hate
- As people choose sides instead of people
I want to be better.
I want us to be better.
So I am thankful for the blank slate in front of us. We just have to choose to see each other.